Free-Range Chicken Gardens: How to Create a Beautiful, Chicken-Friendly Yard Info

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“If your garden fantasies involve chickens, Jessi
Bloom is here to make those dreams come true.” —The New
York Times

Many gardeners fear chickens will peck
away at their landscape. But you can keep chickens and have a beautiful
garden, too! In this essential handbook, award-winning garden designer
Jessi Bloom offers step-by-step instructions for creating a
beautiful and functional space while maintaining a happy, healthy
flock. Free-Range Chicken Gardens covers everything a
gardener needs to know, from the basics of chicken keeping and creating
the perfect chicken-friendly garden design to building innovative

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1084 Ratings






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Reviews for Free-Range Chicken Gardens: How to Create a Beautiful, Chicken-Friendly Yard:


January 31, 2012

A Must for Chicken-Loving Gardeners and Garden-Loving Chickens!
This book combines two of my favorite things: Chickens and Gardening...with numerous photos to drool over! And excellent information and tips!
Is it Spring yet??? I can't wait to get out there!
I have always been an avid gardener, and the decision to keep a few hens in my yard was a natural extension of that. New to chicken-keeping, with a small flock of 5 laying hens (now 7 months old) in a small suburban, almost urban, backyard, I have quickly become quite passionate about my new hobby! Even though I probably can't let my girls free-range the yard completely, this book has given me many ideas for chicken-friendly plantings and ways to better incorporate my coop and run into my property.
The author lists plants, shrubs and groundcovers that can be grown for food/forage, as well as chicken-resistant plants that can add color to the garden, but are not likely to be eaten or trampled by your hens. This information alone is worth the price of the book. I've not seen a more comprehensive listing elsewhere, and the internet forums are filled with conflicting data/opinions as to which plants are edible or toxic.
I'll also be re-seeding my "lawn" areas with what the author calls eco-turf, an ecological seed mix containing clover, that will provide excellent forage for my girls.
The color photos throughout the book are so lovely that I know I'll be keeping this book close at hand for the remainder of the winter, as I plan and dream about creating my own, beautiful chicken garden this spring!

February 20, 2013

Think this book is about planning a garden to specially suit your chickens' needs? Think again.
This book has pretty pictures; that is the book's only positive trait. The book has numerous flaws, which have been covered by other reviewers. However, other reviewers haven't discussed the problem I had with this book: a severe lack of focus.

Instead of focusing on the book's supposed subject--"How to Create a Beautiful Chicken-Friendly Yard"-- the author apparently decided she would rather superficially talk about many, MANY other topics. They include:

1. Coop design (lots of pretty pictures, only one "how to do this" plan with measurements)
2. Predator descriptions and deterrent methods (Mostly accurate info, but why is this discussed in a garden design book?)
3. How to pick chicken breeds (In every basic chicken keeping book in the world--why waste valuable space in this supposedly specialized book with a rehash of that same information??)
4. How to clip a chicken's wings, etc. (What does this have to do with garden design? The author may have her reasons, but doesn't explain them.)
5. A brief rundown of other poultry types, including turkeys, geese, and ducks. (Huh?? Why are ducks discussed in a book that is supposed to be about chickens??)
6. She wraps up the book by listing common chicken diseases and parasites. (?!?)

I have had my chickens for almost 2 years and own many basic chicken keeping books; I didn't need another one. What I DID need was tips on how to incorporate my chickens into a garden--what plants to avoid, what plants they'd love, what plants would benefit from the extra nitrogen from chicken poop. Unfortunately, there is very little information of this sort included in the book, and what little there is is VERY difficult to find, even if using the index.

In addition to all the unnecessary and unwanted basic chicken keeping advice, the author decided to include basic gardening and composting advice--again, losing focus of what this book is supposed to be about. This book reminds me of a high school freshman's first English essay: cluttered, unfocused, and ultimately unhelpful.

If you're actually interested in what the book claims to be about--successfully incorporating poultry into a holistic garden design--a better choice would be "The Small Scale Poultry Flock", by Harvey Ussery.

However, if you're just interested in a cute coffee table book, I suppose this may fit your needs.

April 27, 2012

I don't agree with this book
I raise chickens. They do not do well free ranging. They tear up and distroy your property both forest areas or garden areas. My chickens were free ranged last year. They ate many of my vegetable. Dug holes in my flower gardens. and pooped all over the yard. We still had ticks and slugs. I don't believe a word this author says. I was hoping for her to suggest plants for a veggie garden. She stated that tomato leaves will kill chicken. My 12 chicken ate them all last year and didn't die. We lost 2 chicken while free ranging them. The chicken are better off in their chicken coop away from my vegtable gardens. I don't have worry about bring chicken poop into my house on the bottom of my shoe.

April 30, 2016

Poorly bound book
For what is essentially a photo book, this doesn't handle being opened very well. I sat down to read my book the day after it arrived. However, about 20% into it my book fell apart. The binding isn't appropriate for this type of book. There isn't enough space between the binding and the content, so you apparently open the book too wide.

November 15, 2015

I can sum up the book in one phrase: six-foot high chiken wire fence.
The advice is not very practical in most cases. I have chickens and I have a garden, and I bought the book hoping for some real-world solutions to managing to get a harvest without coming out to find dead, uprooted baby plants and chickens dust-bathing in the cool scratched-up beds. We have a constant battle, as I keep adding fortifications, and the chickens keep finding ways around (under/over) them. After reading this book, I still don't have an answer. The title and synopsis gives the reader the impression that there may be a more holistic approach, but chickens are chickens, and they will wreak havoc if allowed to do so.

May 1, 2013

Book is falling apart due to poor quality construction
I found this book inspiring with several good ideas to incorporate in my garden. However, after only two weeks of normal use, the pages started coming loose from the spine. It was printed in China.

April 21, 2013

WHAT A RIP OFF!Save your money, very retard book, no information at all! big pictures that is it!
Really? This could be a kids book! not for adults! I'm not retard. Why so many big pictures and little information?! Not worth it at all! She isn't an expert in the subject,Is just a very dumb book with a lot of chicken pictures! THIS BOOK IS A SCAM! I need a refund/exchange.

May 6, 2013

Written for a second grader
Get this book if you're considering chickens and your child wants to do her own reading on the subject. It has lots of pretty pictures and colors.

March 15, 2016

Not what I was expecting.
I was rather disappointed in it. I wanted more information about what plants that chickens would be more likely to avoid, and better ideas of how to nicely fence the chickens away from fresh beds or plants. She says that chickens will usually leave established plants alone, but I guess I have unusual chickens, as they eat everything in the yard. Also no idea as to how to get the chickens to use just one area as a dust bath instead of having shallow fox holes all over the yard. She essentially says to have raised beds throughout your yard and gravel or similarly paved walkways. I wanted to know how to have my chickens have the lawn to stroll around in without them destroying the flower beds.

April 15, 2012

Just what I was looking for
Before reading this book I thought I was the only one who worried about landscaping my chicken run ! While I don't free range or allow my flock to roam through our backyard or garden, I DO plant things in their run to attract bugs, provide shade and make the run more aesthetically pleasing. I figure the nicer it looks the more time I will want to spend there - which is beneficial to both me and my chickens.

This book puts all the information I need in one place. No more bookmarking websites of toxic plants, safe plants, etc.

I am in the process of planning my landscaping for this spring and this book has been invaluable in that. Its also a gorgeously photographed book, which makes it a joy to flip through.

Highly recommended for those who free range as well as those who just want to spruce up their run area a bit safely.

Fresh Eggs Daily Farm Girl

Jul 26, 2012

I count myself among those ladies of a certain age who fantasize about opening my back door to a lush, charmingly mussy garden fertilized, grubbed, weeded, and tilled by several friendly yet slightly odd hens. So truly this book is habit-forming. The photos are a drug; I can't stop looking at them. The text is enlightening and raises many interesting points about living with chickens that I would not have considered. It was very hard to return this book to the library, and now only the thin blue I count myself among those ladies of a certain age who fantasize about opening my back door to a lush, charmingly mussy garden fertilized, grubbed, weeded, and tilled by several friendly yet slightly odd hens. So truly this book is habit-forming. The photos are a drug; I can't stop looking at them. The text is enlightening and raises many interesting points about living with chickens that I would not have considered. It was very hard to return this book to the library, and now only the thin blue line of municipal ordinances lies between me and my garden poultry daydreams. ...more

November 27, 2017

Love this Book!
My girls tore up the backyard landscaping, so I quarrantined them in their run. Well, that just produced stressed chickens and the egg laying stopped immediately. This book has such great advice! I'm going to follow it and I know, with the help of ideas and commonsense advice from this book, my girls can live a happy life, running free through my gardens and helping me with the most dreaded chores! Bottom line, they're out of the coop, happily gobbling up garden pests and turning over the dirt for me, in preparation for spring planting. Started laying again as soon as they were sprung. I highly recommend buying this book, especially for beginning chicken keepers as I am. It answered so many questions that I had about their care, plus give such great advice on laying out a garden, and great ideas for how to keep them out of the landscaping you want them to stay away from. Plus, the photos are beautiful, the book is an easy read, and the advice simple to follow.

October 23, 2014

Not for Desert Chickens
If you live in the Pacific Northwest, or any other geographic location with lots of rain, you might find this book useful. But the basic premise is: If you give your chickens a rainforest in which to forage, they won't do too much damage to any one plant. When you live in a Southern California desert, as I do, you just don't have that kind of greenery to work with. And, the only options left are to permit your birds to obliterate your vegetable patch, or keep them in a coop and run. We're building a run, and I sure wish there was more mention in this book on how to landscape in and around a spacious run. There's a little info on that, but not nearly as much as I'd hoped.

May 06, 2012

This is my dream chicken book. I know it's a little crazy that I even have a dream chicken book, but this is it. In all the years I have been wanting to get chickens, this book describes exactly the way I envisioned raising them. Although I am still a long way from making that vision become a reality, this book helped me define that vision more clearly and create more specific plans for the future. It was absolutely inspiring for me.

Apr 21, 2012

A great book for ideas about having chickens as an integral part of your backyard. Lots of ideas and specific plant reccmmendations, as well as information on coops and general chicken care. The photographs are gorgeous. It's worth reading just to look at the chickens free ranging in beautiful gardens. If you're looking to add chickens to your backyard, this is a really great resource. I'll definitely be going back into my copy as we get ready for our chicks to arrive.

Dec 30, 2013

The title says it all. This book is for backyard chicken owners who want to also grow veggies and plants. Very well written and informative. If you want a book only about raising chickens then I recommend storey's guide to raising chickens by Gail damerov

Jun 02, 2013

This was fun to read and has lots of great photos. Even though I have an established garden and flock, I learned things. I think we'll be implementing depth composting in our coop, and we need a garden mirror to entertain the girls.

August 11, 2017

Good book, bad quality binding
I really like the content but the book itself fell apart while reading it as soon as I got it. There's some issue with the binding, it just cracked right off and the pages fell out. I'm pretty disappointed with that as I like to keep books like this around for reference and I can't even leave this one on the coffee table for guests.

June 19, 2016

Excellent. Lots of info
Excellent. Lots of info. Great pics!
I have learned many things and my own gardens are looking great. Unfortunately every chicken is different, mine seem to still pick on things not high on the "preferred chicken plants list" but those plants I'll keep blocked off. One thing I haven't yet read is how deadly the tall ornamental grasses can be for chickens. It can get wrapped up and cause impacted crops. I now have removed all mine from their garden. Thought I'd mention this.
So enjoy this book!

July 30, 2012

So enjoyable and informative!
I have always wanted chickens and am finally in a place where it could happen. Unfortunately, I don't really know anything about raising them. I found this book,Free-Range Chicken Gardens: How to Create a Beautiful, Chicken-Friendly Yard, the price was certainly right and I liked the picture on the front. What can I say? I am a visual type person. Anyway, I have thoroughly enjoyed reading it and learning from it. It is chock full of all kinds of valuable information about keeping chickens, chicken tractors, chicken coops, how to keep them safe, feeding methods, how numerous people have adapted their space into beautiful chicken gardens and more.

The author has done an excellent job of getting information across without boring you to death. I have shared this book with several friends and every one of them agree with me, she is very easy to read and she keeps your attention making this a great buy!

December 13, 2017

Gardens and chickens can coexist
This was one of the first books I got when I first got chickens. The author gives some excellent solutions to keeping chickens and gardens in peaceful harmony!

Su Falcon, author of How I Survived My First Year with Chickens

December 26, 2016

What I concider a pretty "fluff" book
What I concider a pretty "fluff" book. No in depth information on actual free range chicken gardening. I felt like I was reading a blog post by a fad hobbiest. While the writing is descent and the photos are great, I feel like I wasted my money. The small amount of actual information this book contains can be found on about 14,000 different fluffy "self proclaimed chicken expert" blogs.

August 16, 2015

Although it does have a couple good ideas about how to keep your chickens in and ...
Not very informative, a little too basic. Not enough info on chickens. Although it does have a couple good ideas about how to keep your chickens in and out of certain areas of the garden.

February 24, 2015

very pretty, pleasant read, but not quite the gospel of chicken or garden.

December 6, 2016

So so
Not enough detail, just a lot of opinion without the detail to support the opinion or help the reader to develop the same experience and opinion.

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